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HOW DO YOU STAY POSITIVE AND HOPEFUL?

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 908
Joined: Jun 2013

We all know that the cancer journey is a roller coaster ride. You have highs and lows, successes and defeats.

In the middle of all this is hard to stay positive and hopeful and we all have to build a new reality.

I'm wondering if you have any "technique", ritual, activity or a mental process to get you and keep you in a good state of mind.

Laz

 

jen2012
Posts: 1251
Joined: Aug 2012

Well as you can probably tell from many of my posts, I have a tough time staying positive and hopeful. 

I do best when I ignore things.  Have fun with the kids and just try not to think of what may happen in the future, the bills piling up, how this all is affecting the kids, or the possibility of raising our youngest on my own. 

My husband seems to do better than I do and I guess his way is by staying really busy.   He is working full time and volunteers with scouts and Church.  Too busy in my opinion - he comes home at 5:30 and we have dinner and then many nights he's off to a meeting at 7 or he's working or preparing for something until after midnight - then up at 7 the next morning.   He also does better to be around a lot of people.  Where I find myself annoyed in many social circumstances - like when people are making plans for vacations that we can no longer afford, or talking about distant plans, I feel angry.  He thrives being around people.  He also find great comfort in his faith.

I guess you will find your way Laz and hopefully after surgery you'll get good news and can move on and try to put this behind you.

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 908
Joined: Jun 2013

...but one of the wisest thing I have ever learned was:

If you don't have dreams and goals you may never achieve them. If we set short, medium and long term goals, we have something to live for. We may not achieve them all the time, but it's certainly motivating.

Sounds like your husband is extrovert and you are an introvert person. Let me tell you the real difference between the two. People think the difference is that extrovert people are active and social and introvert people are inhibited and like to be by themselves. The real difference is that extrovert people get recharged in the presence of other people, that's where they draw their energy from and they go nuts by themselves. 

Introvert people get recharged by themselves and their energy is depleted in the presence of other people. So if you plan ahead and spend some time by yourself and recharge, you can go out too and enjoy other people company too until they deplete your energy.

I hope this makes sense and helps.

Laz

Trubrit's picture
Trubrit
Posts: 1699
Joined: Jan 2013

I don't really know if I could tell you how I stay positive, its just in my nature to do so.  Not saying I don't have my dark moments, but I only allow them to be short as I fear negative emotions are not healthy for the cancer. 

Those first few weeks after diagnosis, I would go to bed and my mind would be consumed with cancer and the fact that I may have to leave my two boys and go to the 'better place'. I found a CD called 'Meditation to help you with Chemotherapy'  and would listen to that. I was able to calm myslef and thus at least get to sleep.

During the day I'm just naturally a happy-go-lucky kind of person and don't really dwell on the negative.  

Of course there were moments during treatment, during the radiatioon which was brutal on my body, when I just wanted to give it all up, but then the pain would go away and I'd be fine. 

Good luck in finding what works for you, and know that we are all here fighting the fight for you as well as for ourselves. 

danker
Posts: 769
Joined: Apr 2012

My hospital had a cancer support group that I started attending as soon as I was diagnosed.  Two individuals told their story(which matched my problem) and they obviously got through it.  It was a bumpy ride, but I always expected to become NED as the others had.  And I did!!! So the trick is to just assume that all will work out,so just take it a day at a time.  Good Luck!!!

ron50's picture
ron50
Posts: 1319
Joined: Nov 2001

Live for the good days. Definition of a good day....A good day is one when nothing really bad happens.. Wishing you and your wife many good days,, Ron.

BusterBrown's picture
BusterBrown
Posts: 221
Joined: Mar 2005

Laz,

This  8.75 yr veteran finds its very helpful to compartmentalize his illness. I visit it when I have to, and when I don't, I live my life to the best of my ability.  I work a lot, probably 50 hr p/wk. I own a small busines and I love what Ido. I have an 11 year old son and a wife of 21 years who I absolutely adore. My wife and my son are great motiviting factors for me, I'd do anything to be with them. I have big family and my cancer has brought some of us closer together and I have a large circle of wonderful friends who never cease to amaze me.  

 

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4683
Joined: May 2005

I'm similar...

thxmiker's picture
thxmiker
Posts: 1275
Joined: Oct 2010

I will go with Ron on this.  Life sometimes is like a golf game.  It is not your final score, it is the couple of great shots during the game that we talk about!

 

I was talking this morning with a neighbor Liz.  Liz is a retired nurse.  I told her even though I am stage iv Cancer, it is still more likely that I will get killed by a bad driver then cancer.  She laughed and told me, I was probably correct. 

 

Cancer is my weight in my life, it will certainly not define me.  Cancer makes my life more difficult, but it does not change my attitude torwards others. Cancer may restrict my activities at times, but it does not change my good will towards others. I will not be defined by cancer!   That is my advice to everyone. 

 

Best Always,  mike

PS   I had a great day today!  I made Jelly and ran my beagle mix 7.5 miles!  It is not every day, that is a great day.  So, I get to enjoy the great days.  (Third time ever making jelly, and I have not been capable to run Gizmo in 6 months. The two lomotil helped. lol)

janderson1964's picture
janderson1964
Posts: 1828
Joined: Oct 2011

Faith in God, fighting everyway I can 24/7. This means diet, exercise, mental imaging, always researching alternatives and new treatments on the horizon so I am aware of extra weapons to keep in my arsenal in case I need them. I also live life to it's fullest as if I never had cancer. Staying very involved in this and other forums is very important. It gives me a sense of real purpose for surviving this long and a reason to continue to survive with the belief that I can use my experiences to help others. Reading other long term survivor stories always helps.

annalexandria's picture
annalexandria
Posts: 2322
Joined: Oct 2011

Juuust kidding!

Although in all seriousness, an anti-anxiety medication can be very helpful when one is in a rough patch.  I made use of them for a couple of months after dx, untilI got my head wrapped around things.

I also find it helps, as others have said, to think about the cancer only when I absolutely have to do so.  Even when I was in active tx, I would try to stay busy (when I felt well enough).  Short trips to the ocean were especially helpful, as I find being out in nature very soothing.

But I will say (and this is not meant in any derogatory way) that the concept of "hope" can be very different when one is stage 4, or whose loved one is stage 4.  When there is little expectation of a cure, it really requires a whole new set of mental tricks to stay positive.  Sometimes it simply can't be done.  When I think realistically about my situation (which is by a fluke somewhat better than the average stage 4er), I can get very depressed.  That's why I try to keep myself busy, and not dwell on it any more than I actually have to.

(sorry, English majors, dangled my participle at the end there)

Hugs to you~AA

Coppercent
Posts: 145
Joined: Jan 2012

Duplicate post.....

Coppercent
Posts: 145
Joined: Jan 2012

Generally I am a pretty positive person and I keep positive people around me.  When difficulties are given to me I look at them as exciting challenges and start figuring out a plan to get through challenging times.  My diagnosis came on a Friday.  I was stunned and shocked over the weekend when I had to share the news with my sons.  By Monday, I was in a fighting mode and started making a plan to make it through it all. I surround myself with a positive medical team that fight with me through every bump.  I stay very active and busy and have long range plans that I expect to complete. The best advice my oncologist gave to me was keep my life normal and consider the cancer as a little inconvenience.  That has really worked for me. When the little bumps come, I tell myself "this too shall pass" and it always does. Plus I run so when I get tired or a little drained a good run always gets me back in my happy place. Exercisie keeps my sane.

AlinaM's picture
AlinaM
Posts: 18
Joined: Apr 2012

I've really found that my pre-cancer yoga and meditation practice has been the most helpful for staying positive.  I practice restorative yoga and chanting meditation, and each put me in a calm and peaceful state.   That and my Prozac (AA is right about drugs!!)! :)  I just try and take every day as it comes and surround myself with love as much as I can, even when I don't feel happy.  Much love to you!

marbleotis's picture
marbleotis
Posts: 524
Joined: Mar 2012

Laz,

Great post, as always.

My wisdom to share as almost 2 years NED:

  1. cancer (notice it is not capitalized) is not who I am it is what I had (notice the past tense). 
  2. cancer DOES NOT define me, but it tried to!
  3. allow yourself a bad day every once in a while - you earned it and it helps you process and clear stuff out.  I had some bad ones, but they passed
  4. work on what you want your new normal to be
  5. do not let people that don't matter rob you of your spirit
  6. there are days now I only think about cancer once or twice, as opposed to every second of every minute of every day in the beginning
  7. I took advantage of the post-chemo Wellness Program which included restorative Yoga (excellent).  Breath....... and exhale.........

My thoughts and prayers go out to you as you manage through the weeks ahead.  You will come out on the other side really ok.  A new-version of you but still ok................ even better, certainly smarter and alot tougher!

renw's picture
renw
Posts: 282
Joined: Jan 2013

I always try to keep focus on some goal, or call it a dream that I intend to fulfill once I beat this thing.  For example one of those is finding a new house in the country away from city life, grow my own organic produce ... that sort of thing. And more simple things like taking the kids camping once I am well enough, something I missed out on this year.  I fill my head with this stuff and this keeps me going and positive. With so many great things to look forward to, how can u not be?

PhillieG's picture
PhillieG
Posts: 4683
Joined: May 2005

All of the answers are great and it's a very personalized answer. I have found that Bister Brown's answer "compartmentalize the illness. I visit it when I have to, and when I don't, I live my life to the best of my ability." has been the closest to my experience. I stay very busy and I believe that life is less about being dealt a good hand and more about playing a poor hand well...  

lp1964's picture
lp1964
Posts: 908
Joined: Jun 2013

...what a wonderful group of people you guys are. Just read these comments: they are all thought out well, all personalized, all wise and showing the personality of the individual.

As much as I would not want to be here, I feel very previlidged to know you all. The toughest, wisest, kindest group I have ever known. Bless you all!

Laz

janderson1964's picture
janderson1964
Posts: 1828
Joined: Oct 2011

I feel the same way as you do about everyone here. I would also like to add that staying active helps me a lot. Mountain biking and kayaking always worked for me as well my sport atv. Now that I have a motorcycle that helps a lot. There is virtually no thought of cancer when I am active. And when I finish any one of the aforementioned activities I feel so damn good mentally and physically I feel as though cancer doesn't have a chance against me. My new moto since my last recurrence that I will not die from cancer but I will still probobly have cancer in me however I die and when I die.

YoVita's picture
YoVita
Posts: 562
Joined: Mar 2010

... and such a beautiful wedding picture.  Congratulations to you and your bride.

Since my diagnosis, I have created goals and have worked on regrets (trying to fix them if I can or accept them if I can't).  One of my recent goals was just fulfilled.  I was able to escort my son down the aisle to celebrate his wedding to his beautiful bride.  I didn't think I would live that long.  That was a huge meaningful goal for me.  I'm now working on my next goal, retirement.  I hope to achieve that sometime in the next year and be able to move to Milwaukee to live with my husband.  Because of jobs, we've had to live apart for the past five years.  I do find compartmentalizing my cancer as others have said is helpful.  But, that's hard to do initially.  I hope you can get to that stage as well after your surgery and treatment are completed.  Peace.   

Coloncancerblows's picture
Coloncancerblows
Posts: 296
Joined: Feb 2013

Laz,

I've always been a happy person anyway but I've found having your friends around is the best medicine.  I have the best girlfriends plus a very loving family.

LindaK.
Posts: 360
Joined: Apr 2013

Laz, you've always been so positive and uplifting to so many on this board.  I have admired you from afar for that.  I have sensed your concern/fear/worry growing the last few weeks.  I have found so many kind people on this board who have lifted me up as a caregiver.  I cannot really offer any advice since my husband's surgery was done very quickly due to a large tumor causing a complete blockage.  You've had time for treatment, reflection and probably some nerves are setting in for you for the "unknown".  Just take it one day at a time, don't worry too much about the future, but look forward to it instead.

Good luck tomorrow, you will have many people sending prayers and good wishes your way.

Linda

FightingSpirit
Posts: 34
Joined: Feb 2013

Instead of focusing on the disease, I am actively working on

- Spiritual growth (neglected most of my adult life)

- detaching from my love of world politics (out of my control and depressing)

- being on purpose with creating the relationships I've always wanted with friends and family

- doing the things I've always wanted to do

- laughing every day

 

By doing these things, I am inviting peace, joy and anticipation into my life so that regardless of what happens with this disease, I will enjoy life and have no regrets.  Whenever I hit a low, I find that faith and family always bring me back to center.

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